Four jihadists have escaped from prison in Mauritania after a shootout left two national guards dead, the interior ministry said Monday, a rare event in a nation spared the insurgency sweeping through the Sahel.
The incident, which took place in the capital on Sunday night, left two other guards lightly wounded, it said.
“Four terrorists managed to escape from the central prison of Nouakchott after assaulting the guards, which led to an exchange of fire,” the ministry said in a statement to the official news agency.
“The National Guard has tightened its control over the prison and immediately started tracking down the fugitives.”
The identities of the escaped prisoners were not revealed.
According to a military official, two of the prisoners had been sentenced to death, while the others were awaiting trial for membership of a terrorist organisation.
The official, asking not to be named, said their vehicle had been found in the northeastern part of Nouakchott.